Nick Clegg faces revolt over NHS reforms

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was tonight facing a Commons revolt by Liberal Democrat MPs over the Government's controversial NHS reforms.

Five Lib Dem backbenchers have tabled an amendment to Labour's opposition day motion on the Health and Social Care Bill calling on the House to "decline to support" the legislation "in its current form".

The amendment instead calls on the Government to hold an "urgent summit" with the royal colleges, professional bodies and patients' organisations to plan health reforms for England "based on the coalition agreement".

Labour welcomed the move and said that it offered a last chance to block the bill before it completes its passage through Parliament next week.

The tabling of the amendment comes after Lib Dem activists refused to back the bill at their spring conference in Gateshead.

Greg Mulholland, one of the Lib Dem signatories to the amendment, said that the Government should now accept that it needed to re-think its reform plan.

"The bill should now be pulled and interested parties and colleagues should come together and plan reform of the health service, in line with the collation agreement, instead of pushing ahead with these reforms," he wrote on his website.

"Pushing a bill through in any area, never mind in one so important as the NHS, with so many professional organisations and medical professionals opposed is not a sensible or acceptable way to make policy and it is time to get people round the table and find a different and acceptable way forward."

With Labour sources signalling they would support the Lib Dem rebel amendment, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said it was not too late to block the legislation.

"Labour is clear that we can still stop it," he said.

"We have a new opportunity to develop an agreement between Labour and the Liberal Democrats on the NHS bill. Patients who depend on the NHS and staff who have devoted their lives to it want to see political parties find common ground."

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "The Lib Dems have changed this bill in a thousand ways and our conference at the weekend recognised that success.

"As a result, this is a much better bill, which makes competition the servant not the master of the NHS and secures long-standing Liberal Democrat objectives around democratic accountability and putting patients before profits."

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "We are still committed to the Bill. We need to modernise the NHS and look forward to the Bill becoming law."

Asked about the Royal College of General Practioners' call for talks on the implementation of the reforms, she said Number 10 was "disappointed" about its continued opposition to the reform proposals.

"We are keen to engage with all those organisations who are constructively working with us to improve the NHS," the spokeswoman said.

Asked whether that included the Royal College, she added: "They continue to oppose the Bill."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before